Bambara Stunned Hardened Brooklyn Punks

On Saturday night, the experimental rockers Bambara headlined Brooklyn’s Rough Trade with indie metal group A Deer A Horse and dirty party punks Gnarcissists. There was blood, sweat, drugs and bad ideas aplenty.

Punks and rockers from every forbidden corner of NYC came out to wreak havoc and see bands shred. They were not disappointed.

The show started with Gnarcissists’ mayhem. Frontman Matti Orr was in a leg brace from a mosh-related incident, but that didn’t stop him from spouting his usual guttural vocals about fentanyl and trying to live the NYC dream. Though the crowd wasn’t as bulky as it would be later that night, the audience members who showed up early stirred up a riotous mosh pit, with the frontwoman for Flasyd, Syd Walsh, pulling one of the least graceful crowd surfs I’ve ever witnessed, with a single concert-goer holding her aloft while she bundled into fetal position. It was magical.

After Gnarcissists, A Deer A Horse’s dark and stormy vibes kept the momentum going. Though rock ‘n’ roll through and through, A Deer A Horse plays with the spirit of raging metalheads. The crowd wasn’t jumping around or spitting beer as much as they were for Gnarcissists, but everyone was captivated. The thunderous roars of the drums and guitar solos slapped everyone hard in the face.

Once Bambara took the stage the crowd became so dense it was almost impossible to navigate.

Bambara plays Swans-like/Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds-inspired punk rock, with even a couple of sax players making cameos. As their sinister melodies transfixed the crowd, frontman Reid Bateh marched, crawled and convulsed over the stage while narrating horrific tales with his deep and maniacal vocals. Audience members either watched in a trance or thrashed like maniacs. Bateh threw himself into the crowd and fell to his knees, conveying the pure passion he has for music.

Cameras flashed and bodies flew. Drummer Blaze Bateh left the stage with blood dripping down his face. Anyone who wasn’t a punk rocker before this show either left converted or absolutely terrified.